Take exception to Harkins’s self-described leadership style

To the Editor:

I was taken aback by the current mayor’s statements regarding his “leadership” style. Let’s take a look at some items from last week’s Star.

Speaking of the Town Council, he says “we work in a civil and gentlemanly manner.” That is offensive on so many levels. How do the 50% of Stratford residents who are female fit into the current mayor’s “style?” How does Councilwoman Stephanie Philips fit in that picture? Is it only the “old boy’s club” that gets to meet behind closed doors and decide how to spend — and misspend — our tax dollars?

“The process of submitting budgets, plans and proposals to the Town Council for approval does not necessarily require that the mayor stands out in front and explains the details of the item or the rationale compared to alternative ideas,” is the view of the mayor. I disagree. A true leader should be willing to stand out and sell his proposed budget by explaining the benefits and demonstrating how it fits into the strategic direction and growth of the town.

I was amazed at the current mayor’s allegation that “small numbers of townspeople have come out to oppose his proposals with a few exceptions.” I don’t know what meetings he’s been going to but the meetings I’ve attended on redistricting had up to thirty people arguing against the gerrymandering with only the plan’s architect speaking for it.

When he locked the volunteers out of the Shakespeare Theatre and threatened to take down the White House last year, over a hundred people demonstrated against that and spoke out at council meetings. If the current mayor were present at the public forums in town council chambers and not isolated in his office, he may have realized how many people in town oppose his policies.

Stratford has lost so many chances in the last three and one-half years to help its people: We could have been an Energy Improvement District, lowering residential and business utility bills; Shakespeare renovations could be well underway; our public works equipment could have been prepared for weather emergencies.

Let’s not waste another four years.

Joe Paul

Editor’s Note: Joe Paul is a Democratic candidate for mayor of Stratford.

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